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Chris Headshot
WRI at Oasis!
By: Chris Iraggi, Meteorologist

Two of our Meteorologists, Jeremy Davis and Chris Iraggi will be attending the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show on October 29-November 03, 2019.

This year WRI is proud to be sponsoring the Oasis at Pier 66, a place where captains and crew can take a break in a more relaxed setting. Stop by and visit Chris and Jeremy at any time, or if you would like to set up a time to meet let us know. Chris and Jeremy will also be visiting other parts of the show if it is more convenient to meet you at your vessel or another location. WRI will also be showcasing our newest product SeaWeather OnBoard at the show, which we can demo at the Oasis/your vessel/on the show grounds. SeaWeather OnBoard is a standalone software which allows access to our SeaWeather service without the constant Internet connection.

Captains and crew can sign up and register for the Oasis at http://theoasislounge.flygmt.com/register/

We always enjoy meeting our present and future clients and hope we can have an opportunity to meet you. We look forward to seeing you all at the show!


Jeremy Headshot
An Incredible Sailing Experience with 59-North. Part 2 –Hare Bay, Newfoundland to St. John’s via Francois
By: Jeremy Davis, Operations Manager

In August, I shared my story of sailing on Ice Bear as we transited from Lunenburg, Nova Scotia to Hare Bay. This story picks up where I left off, after spending the night of June 20th anchored in Morgan Arm, a portion of Hare Bay.

On the morning of the 21st, we studied the upcoming weather pattern which featured an approaching gale to the south. In consulting with the crew, Captain Andy Schell decided to relocate the Ice Bear to Northwest Arm, another portion of Hare Bay, for better protection from the upcoming heavy weather. We spent the morning exploring another waterfall a few hundred yards from Ice Bear, before getting the vessel ready to sail the five nautical miles to Northwest Arm.

At anchor, the rain began, and we hunkered down inside the cabin. It was the perfect afternoon to learn celestial navigation, and Andy and Mia provided all of us with a demonstration on how to find our position using sun sights, a useful skill to have if electronics fail.

It rained quite a bit that night, and by morning, the nearby waterfalls were raging. One just to our NW was about 600-700 feet in vertical over many cascades. Others appeared in and out of the mist. Later, when left Hare Bay and into open waters, we were able to sail to the base of one of these roaring waterfalls.

The crew at the waterfall before reaching open water. From left to right, Tom, Jeremy, Bill, Andy, Jack, Mike, and Mia. Richa and Liz were behind the camera. Courtesy 59-north.com.

We had a narrow window to sail to Francois, the most isolated outport in Atlantic Canada. It is a fishing village with 65 full time residents, and it's nearly 40 miles from the nearest road - the only way in is by boat, helicopter, or snowmobile in the winter.

It was a damp, foggy two hour sail to Francois, but we had good beam reaching winds. The fog was so dense that visibility was under 100 feet at times, but Andy and Mia safely navigated us into the entrance to Francois. We had not idea that there were tall cliffs surrounding the entrance, aside from navigational charts.

Arriving into Francois, we met the local residents who welcomed us to their outport. We were the first non-commercial vessel to visit for the season, though the ferry arrives each day. Although it was wet, some of the crew and I hiked to an overlook of the outport, and part of the way to the summit of the cliffs, but the visibility was poor.

A view of Francois from the cliffs above.

Returning to Ice Bear, we learned that Tom, on our crew, had procured local lobsters for all of us, and we had another delicious feast prepared by him and Mia. We needed a good dinner and rest, because the most challenging conditions lay ahead of us the following day. The gale was moving away, but residual gale force winds were expected as we departed Francois.

As a meteorologist who loves storms, sailing into the departing gale on Sunday the 23rd was a true highlight of the trip. We had been studying the GRIB files and Weather Routing's forecasts, and knew that we would be experiencing broad-beam reaching gale force gusts for the first six hours from Francois towards St. Pierre and then onward, before rapid improvement on the south side of Placentia Bay. The forecast was for seas of 8-12ft in the open waters south of Francois. Andy's motto is to never avoid a fair wind, and the angles would be good for sailing.

Upon departing Francois, we immediately encountered winds of 30kts with higher gusts, and seas building to 10ft. I took one of the earlier helming opportunities, keeping us on a tight course to east of Miquelon. While steering in those kinds of conditions was challenging, we all got the hang of it quickly, and since the wind and sea angles were from aft of the beam, the conditions were actually quite fun to be at the helm.

Sailing into the back edge of the departing gale outside of Francois. Courtesy 59-north.com.

Once we passed east of Miquelon, the winds spiked into the low 40s as they funneled between the two peaks on the island. The high swells from earlier transitioned into a washing machine of wind driven seas in the lee of the island. But with good visibility and a fast speed over ground (near 10kts), we made good progress.

By the morning of June 24th, the gale had moved far enough away, the winds dropped considerably, and the skies had become partly cloudy. As we rounded Cape Race, the engine was turned on as the winds dropped. During the final stretch into St. John's, we spotted our first icebergs closer to the coast. Soon, another iceberg appeared to starboard, this one a "dome" iceberg. We motored over to it, sent up the drone, circumnavigated it for photographs, and continued on our way.

An hour or so later, a much larger iceberg appeared on the horizon, this one much more complex in shape. A multi "pinnacled" iceberg, this one had several peaks and chasms, and a deep blue vein of ice across its midsection. Wave action against the east side resulted in geysers of seawater being launched dozens of feet in the air. We were all mesmerized!

A wave hits the back side of the second iceberg, sending a fountain of water into the air. Courtesy 59-north.com.

The voyage concluded with another sunset through areas of fog as we passed by Cape Spear, the easternmost point in North America, and into St. John's. We docked, tied up, and celebrated this epic journey. The following day, all of us on crew we said our goodbyes and flew home, vowing to stay in touch, and wanting to do a trip like this again.

Entering the harbor of St. John's, Newfoundland at sunset.

This trip was an amazing experience. Having the chance to experience all kinds of weather and conditions in such a short amount of time - from motoring in calm winds, to perfect broad reaching winds, to navigating through dense fog, steering through the backside of a gale, and finally avoiding icebergs, these were all beyond expectations and we all learned so much. Seeing these conditions in person will help us at Weather Routing to better understand what our clients are going through while offshore.

If you would like to sail with 59 North Sailing, read their blogs about this passage, or listen to Andy and Mia's podcast, please visit their website at www.59-north.com.

Upcoming Events
10/14/2019-10/21/2019 - AWEA Offshore Conference (Boston, MA)
10/29/2019-11/03/2019 - Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show (Fort Lauderdale, FL)